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Oregon’s Tillamook Coast: Sweet Family-Fun Destination Any Time of Year

Play on the beach, fly a kite, and eat cheese and ice cream!

Writer Heather Larson

Published on: August 09, 2022

Oregon’s Tillamook Coast: Sweet Family-Fun Destination Any Time of Year

Kite-flying at Rockaway Beach credit Heather Larson
Kite-flying at Rockaway Beach. Credit: Heather Larson

Rockaway Beach

The magnetic attraction of this 7-mile-long beach and the adjacent town drew us back several times, even one last stop before we headed home. We threw off our shoes and wiggled our toes in the soft sand. We searched for shells, oddly-shaped rocks and marine critters in the tidepools. Kite-flying is ideal here though we somehow had trouble getting ours going.

We had better luck crabbing at Kelly’s Brighton Marina. As complete novices, we were a bit hesitant about tackling this sport. No need, because we were given explicit instructions upon check-in. Armed with a bucket, a measuring device (so we kept only legal-sized, male crabs) and a crab trap baited with rockfish pieces, we headed to the dock. We hit the Dungeness jackpot on our second try, a crab big enough to keep and eat. The staff cleaned and cooked it and we enjoyed the tastiest, freshest shellfish ever.

All aboard! Visitors can ride an actual steam train from Rockaway Beach to Garibaldi and back again. Run almost entirely by skilled volunteers, the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad runs daily in the summer (through September) and offers special excursions at other times of the year.

Roam the souvenir and kite shops along Highway 101 and you’re likely to encounter the International Police Museum with exhibits paying homage to Oregon police. Visit the red caboose in the middle of town for insider information from a knowledgeable local. 

Where to stay: Surfside Oceanfront Resort or Silver Sands Motel.

Where to eat: Offshore Grill, Sand Dollar.

More ideas: Visit Rockaway Beach.

Next stop: Bay City

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